No picture View larger


Reliquary guardian figure, Mahongwe, "boho na bwete"


H: 55 cm (1' 10")
Gabon, early 20th century

This even and smooth figure stands out for its elaborate relief-like application of hammered brass wires running across its surface. The eyes are made of driven brass disks, from which linear wires symbolizing tears flow. Similarly arranged wires wind tightly around the neck. The foot and back are made up of two multicolored metal pieces with hammered diamond patterns. A ridged middle section indicates the rank of the person being guarded. The figure was centered in a woven basket to guard the ancestor's relic. There is minor insect damage on the bottom of the foot. Few of these figures remain as many of these significant masterpieces of African art were destroyed by missionaries during the Christianization process.

Provenance: Old collection, Paris

Estimate: € 12000 - 16000

Startpreis / Startingbid

6 000 €